Safety For All: A Team Approach to Safety in Construction

Würth MRO, Safety & Metalworking
Written by Tim Hocken

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) frequently reminds us that, “A safe workplace is sound business.” While they weren’t specifically referring to construction, they very well could have been.

Safety is always an important issue in construction. This field consistently falls in lists of the Top Ten Most Dangerous Jobs, so safety can’t just be a buzzword that comes up every once in a while. Along with delivering quality projects, meeting expectations, and fulfilling warranty obligations, construction companies must build a reputation of safety to win contracts.

The physical risks to workers are real and result daily in painful, costly injuries from falls, dropped objects, struck-by accidents, and the like. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed earlier this year that occupational fatalities in construction were up in 2020. So how can you avoid being part of this trend?

Redefine the meaning of team
Any employer or supervisor knows the value of teamwork in accomplishing goals, whether it’s to meet a tight deadline or raise money for a local charity. When a group works together with the common goal that everyone goes safe home at the end of the day, you’re very likely to see a decrease in injuries, not to mention a boost to morale and productivity. Have you ever stopped to think that the people you consider as part of your team can go beyond the people who work for you?

It’s becoming prudent to include your suppliers as part of the team you count on to maintain safety on the job. When choosing suppliers, seek out qualities in them that you look for in any people that you hire, like experience, efficiency, and availability.

“You don’t compromise on your workers’ safety. Your suppliers should respect that and do what they can to help you maintain it,” says John Mazzarato, Construction Vertical Manager with Würth MRO, Safety & Metalworking (MSM) Division, who’s been working with the construction business for thirty-two years. “Würth MSM is that supplier, the one with solutions and success stories to back it up.”

Expect know-how
Experience matters in construction. There’s no doubt about that. Projects are varied and getting more complicated every year. When you have a supplier who understands your job and its challenges, you’ll have more than a supplier; you’ll have a partner. Look for someone who has successfully contributed to projects like yours to be part of your team.

Würth MSM has had contracts with construction projects for decades. As part of that, they’ve been lending their expertise to assure their customers have proper, OSHA-compliant personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep their people safe on their jobsites. This is only made possible by keeping up with best practices, which MSM’s team takes seriously. Their SafetyCheck® Hazard Prevention Program’s Safety Assessment Team works with companies to create healthier, more productive workplaces. Their comprehensive approach brings them to the customers’ sites to do training, identify risk through exposure monitoring, and perform job safety analysis. They can address specific concerns like fall protection with leading-edge PPE or collaborate with management on a corporate-wide campaign to improve safety culture.

Additionally, being a member of the Würth Group, the world’s largest industrial fastener distributor, means that Würth MSM is part of a global network that includes Würth Construction Services, a division of Würth Industries North America. They have manufactured and supplied fastener components for building structures like the new World Trade Center in New York City and the Salesforce Tower in Chicago.

Ease the supply chain
Hiccups happen. Is your safety supplier ready? Can you depend on them to assist? If you don’t have the PPE that you and your crew require, that causes a barrier between your team and their goal to work safely. To be a member of your team, your supplier should be able to ship you a dozen visitor hard hats ASAP when you find out that there’s a corporate entourage coming to the site. A distribution center that’s well-stocked and nearby gives you confidence that they’ll be able to send you what you need when you need it. Recognizing this demand, Würth MSM continues to expand its nationwide footprint with warehouses coast to coast.

At a time when it feels like we’re all doing more during the workday, it’s crucial to seek out advancements in purchasing technology to help you save time. In their DirectConnect™ Inventory and Procurement Solution, Würth MSM offers customizable online ordering platforms that are designed to meet the diverse business needs of construction companies, large and small. They’ll put all of your requisite, pre-approved products on a custom website for you, which you and your designated buyers can view with your quoted pricing. This isn’t a catch-all list of your frequently ordered items; you can have as many custom product collections as you need, for different departments, locations, trades, et cetera.

Ordering isn’t just easier; it’s more secure. This peace of mind is a major selling point for a reason. In case you’re uneasy about handing over some of your procurement duties, you can implement order approvals for dollar amounts that you deem higher than normal. You can further schedule order eligibility. For example, employees are eligible to order footwear on a yearly basis and gloves every three months.

Along with time-saving efficiencies, your vendors should provide technology solutions to ease your recordkeeping duties. In response to their customers’ varied business requirements, Würth MSM created DirectConnect’s Analytics Solutions. This software, backed by SAP and Power BI, eliminates many traditional spreadsheet tasks like monthly purchase totals and year-over-year purchasing variance. With this customized data reporting, which is automatically emailed monthly, you can better monitor spending, spot trends and anomalies, and avoid budget overruns.

About those visitor hard hats, Würth MSM’s Custom Express Printing program can add your logo or safety message to hundreds of safety products, including hard hats. Their professional in-house team can perform pad printing and screen printing along with embroidery, signs, and custom decals. While other vendors take weeks to send out orders, they can deliver in days.

On budget and available
As inflation continues to jeopardize budgets, you should be able to count on your vendors to provide opportunities to save money as much as possible. Controlling your PPE costs is easier with Würth MSM’s exclusive NSI® Brand Products, which span nearly twenty product categories and include construction staples like disposable coveralls, cut-resistant gloves, and high visibility safety vests. Their studies show that customers save around 25 percent when they choose this proprietary product line. Launched two decades ago in 2002 with a vision of providing quality at a more economical price, NSI® Brand Products are used by 70 percent of their customers. In the last few years, the line has expanded beyond PPE to include janitorial supplies, tape measures, and slings.

NSI® Brand Products not only deliver value but are another vehicle to minimize the worry of today’s prolific supply chain. Würth MSM has a dedicated Procurement Team for this product line. They keep a watchful eye on inventory levels and are cognizant of world events to help them monitor variables like raw material availability with the goal of keeping their nationwide warehouses full and ready to ship.

It’s well known that employees appreciate the value that their company places on their safety. As it gets more and more difficult to find qualified trades to be on site, going the extra mile in safety is a smart way to keep good people. Unsafe conditions are a huge red flag to someone who’s counting on a 40-year career. A seasoned tradesperson can easily take their skillset to an employer that understands the value of reducing accidents on the job. Again, it’s good business for construction companies to promote safety and that’s more easily accomplished when the entire team, suppliers included, contributes.

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